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Question: Why did snipers not use suppressors? Or, did they?

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Just got a M40 clone, bunch more questions soon to come . .

Last night I was watching "Sniper" with Tom Berringer and was wondering why I never see suppressors on these movie rifles.
In real life, did snipers use suppressors?
If not, then why?
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Prior to CNC machining, suppressor technology was pretty primitive. Large and heavy. Over a foot long and more than a pound. Not the best idea for balance or barrel harmonics. The best stuff used water or wipes. The wipes were very effective, but didn't last long and naturally degraded accuracy.

They aren't really needed for long range shooting. The sound the enemy hears is the sonic crack of the bullet, which is perpendicular to where the shot came from.
You are talking post VN war?
 

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You have to sign for everything. For firearms, you were issued a Weapons Card. It had your info on it, as well as the weapon's. When you drew your weapon from Arms Room/Tent/Truck, you gave them your card and they put it in the rack in place of your weapon. It sped things up when handing out 200 weapons.

Everything else you sign for, especially sensitive items.
 

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You had to sign them in and out? Every single time you went to work?
What about the rifles? Same thing? Sign in and out?

As with everything military, if it met a certain threshold (more than X amount of dollars/ highly pilferable/ subject to the discretion of the Property Book Officer) you had to sign it out, making you liable if you lose it and reimburse the gubmit in cash for the loss. AAAAAND, anything checked out from the Armory, they usually won't let you turn it back in unless it it thoroughly cleaned and oiled...which is a HUGE pain in the behind as armorers are a bunch of DEE-words and love to make your life miserable because, "It's funny". And no...in a warzone, you usually check your weapons out once and MAAAYBE turn them back in before redeployment home if the military wants to keep them in the warzone. Otherwise, you fly with them on your way back home.
 
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
As with everything military, if it met a certain threshold (more than X amount of dollars/ highly pilferable/ subject to the discretion of the Property Book Officer) you had to sign it out, making you liable if you lose it and reimburse the gubmit in cash for the loss. AAAAAND, anything checked out from the Armory, they usually won't let you turn it back in unless it it thoroughly cleaned and oiled...which is a HUGE pain in the behind as armorers are a bunch of DEE-words and love to make your life miserable because, "It's funny". And no...in a warzone, you usually check your weapons out once and MAAAYBE turn them back in before deployment if the military wants to keep them in the warzone. Otherwise, you fly with them on your way back home.
Very interesting. People do enjoy their sick little power trips to demonstrate their control.
My buddy, the LRRP, angrily called them "REMFs."

What all was involved in cleaning the old suppressors? What was the big deal?
 

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I can't tell how it was done in 60s-90s, but these days nobody really screws with sniper section equipment.
Yes, it's all tracked and signed for, but cleaning schedules and inspections are on us. Section leader is responsible for that.
All the supply is doing, is tracking serial numbers and making sure all is accounted for in their books.
Nobody is "touching" our equipment otherwise.
 

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What all was involved in cleaning the old suppressors? What was the big deal?
You remove the cap, take out the baffles and other guts. Clean it just like you would any other part of the weapon. If you had access to hot water, all the better. Our MP5SD's came apart easily. The ported barrel required a little extra attention to detail.
 

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Hollywood is notorious for using silly small fake sound suppressors on pistols. As if something the size of one or two C sized batteries can suppress a pistol to a bare whisper. But movies are not reality.

Hollywood sometimes uses them in creative ways. The most famous one I recall being that shotgun used in “No Country for Old Men.”
I refer you to: "Feasibility Test of a Silenced Shotgun, 11 January 1963 to 7 April 1964" Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD:

Summary of Findings:
When using unmodified ammunition, the silenced shotgun gave number 4 buckshot an average velocity of 921 feet per second at 35 feet, a sound level of 126 db at 160 inches on a azimuth of 255 degrees with the line of fire, and a pattern with 79 per cent of the shot in a 30 inch diameter circle at 40 yards.

Conclusion:
The sound-pressure levels of a shotgun can be reduced appreciably when using unmodified ammunition with some loss in effectiveness at the target and somewhat less favorable weapon weight and configuration.


So, just as the silenced 9mm pistol does not go "pfftt!" as in the movies, neither will the silenced shotgun, however the concept is viable. It was about 30 db quieter than an M1 or M14.

:geek:
 

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One of my buddies has a suppressed M-16, he brought it up here and it was pretty quiet.
But, his is, of course, a newer one. The oldies made more noise?
Baffle designs are constantly being improved, as well as having the bore diameter closer to the caliber. Today's tubes fit the weapon much better, keeping everything in line.

Many of the smaller ones in use today are more intended to protect the operator, as opposed to concealing the sound from the enemy. Firing a rifle in close quarters, without hearing protection or a sound moderator, is very low on the fun scale. The damage to your hearing is often permanent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Baffle designs are constantly being improved, as well as having the bore diameter closer to the caliber. Today's tubes fit the weapon much better, keeping everything in line.

Many of the smaller ones in use today are more intended to protect the operator, as opposed to concealing the sound from the enemy. Firing a rifle in close quarters, without hearing protection or a sound moderator, is very low on the fun scale. The damage to your hearing is often permanent.
We Were Stupid Once, when we were young.
Used empty shell casings. You are correct about damage. Ask how I know.
 

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Digressing somewhat, but here's the iconic suppressed shotgun in the 2007 movie, No Country for Old Men. (This movie prop is on display at the NRA museum, at least it was a few years ago).
NRA article states this about that prop gun:
"In the movie, the Chigurh character is persistent, emotionless and resistant to pain and injury beyond normal human limits—he's essentially a man-shaped hole in the fabric of reality. So it's well that the man who isn't really a man is carrying a gun that isn't really a gun. That's right...that Remington 11-87 isn't possible. First, it's an anachronism: Although the movie is set in 1980, the Remington 11-87 wasn't introduced until 1987. Additionally, although suppressors for shotguns have been commercially available for about two years, there weren't any when the movie was made, let alone when the movie was set. The Coen brothers had the prop gun Bardem used fitted with the "silencer" seen on the screen. It doesn't work, naturally; the "silencer" obscures the gun's barrel, so this prop could not ever actually be fired."
Air gun Gun barrel Office supplies Font Gun accessory

...just a random Hollywood creation that I recall. (I also recall the movie was rather disturbing too).
 

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. . . .there weren't any when the movie was made, let alone when the movie was set. . . .
Au contraire, there were the three or four the Army made for the 1963 test referenced above. And, who's to say some inventive soul didn't make one under the table, Chigurh wasn't exactly worried about legalities was he?

It doesn't work, naturally; the "silencer" obscures the gun's barrel, so this prop could not ever actually be fired."
Seems open to me. Theoretically, that tube could house a suppressor, in fact that would be the way to do it by drilling the barrel and placing a baffle chamber over it. That was the way the Army one worked, only they started the venting just forward of the chamber and continued the entire length of the barrel.
 

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We Were Stupid Once, when we were young.
Used empty shell casings. You are correct about damage. Ask how I know.
One time in Germany, I had to run an M60 qualification for the Bundeswehr. I didn't have earplugs with me, so I used some 9mm cases that I picked off the range. We were in one of those concrete tunnels that they hide in parks. It made for a long day.
 

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My most trusted friend & I held a test once. I stood downrange & had him fire my suppressed 308 boltgun past me. Numerous safety precautions had been taken for all the safety types out there. Heres what happened.

In a wooded area the sonic crack of the bullet passing me was extremely confusing. It sounded like the noise was coming from all directions since the terrain reflects the noise. He fired three times & all three I could easily hear but there was no way I could determine where it came from.

In a completely open field I could faintly hear the firing & again easily heard the sonic crack pass me but it'd still be dang hard to determine where the shot came from.
Our hearing relies on the first arrival to determine direction. If the round is supersonic, the first sound we hear is a sonic 'boom' wave emanating from the path of the bullet after the bullet has travelled it, not the rifle, and if you can discern a direction, it will be the direction of the portion of that wave was traveling. The secondary wave, traveling behind the bullet from the rifle concussion, at any kind of distance, will be primarily and overwhelmingly reflected sound, which will be very vague in itself, because it is smeared in both time and direction.

Often, we don't realize how vague our hearing is, because when we hear, and then we look, we identify our source, and then our brain ties it together. We can locate objects pretty well when it's close, because we hear more of the first arrival, and between the timing difference between our ears and the HRTF (Head-Related Transfer Function), which is a fancy way of saying that the sound 'sounds' different depending on how it travels around your head and that funky surface of your ear, the pinnae, you might not notice how much the sound changes as your head rotates, or the source moves, but the systems deeper under the hood do, and translate that into 'where'.

I don't know if you care about that, but it seems relevant. :)
 
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